Warning: parents

| November 16, 2017

Four out of 10 children in the US are exposed to second-hand smoke, according to a Medical Xpress story quoting the American Heart Association.

The claim is apparently based on a new Tel Aviv University (TAU) study suggesting that parents who smoke mistakenly rely on their own physical senses to gauge the presence of tobacco smoke in the air.

“This reliance on their own physical sensory perceptions leads to misconceptions of when and where children are exposed to tobacco smoke,” said Dr. Laura Rosen of TAU’s School of Public Health and Sackler Faculty of Medicine, who led the research for the study that was recently published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research.

“No one has previously put their finger on this exposure perception problem,” Rosen said.

“This is important for the ongoing debate about restrictions on smoking in public places, since people may be exposed without being aware of it.”

The research team conducted in-depth interviews with 65 parents of young children from smoking households across Israel. They were said to have found many false assumptions and a lack of awareness of where and when the children were exposed to cigarette smoke.

“Many parents believe they are taking adequate measures to protect their children from the damage of cigarette smoke,” Rosen said. “But we found that they are not even aware of some of the exposure, and therefore do not take sufficient measures to protect their children.”

The researchers then compared the participating parents’ conceptions of second-hand smoke exposure with scientific findings from recent studies. They found that the parents believed that if they did not see or smell the smoke, their children were not exposed.

“But previous studies have shown that 85 percent of smoke is invisible, and many components of cigarette smoke are odorless,” said Rosen. “What’s more, you can’t rely on a smoker’s sense of smell, which may have been damaged by smoking.”

Other parents reported believing that if they smoked beside an open window, on a balcony or in a designated area – or ventilated a room after smoking – their children would not be exposed to smoke. “But urine tests of children whose parents smoke near open windows indicate double the normal level of cotinine, a product of nicotine,” said Rosen.

“To protect children from second-hand smoke, parents must be convinced that exposure occurs even when they themselves do not see or smell the smoke. Parents’ awareness of smoke exposure is essential to protecting children from second-hand smoke.”

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Category: Breaking News, People

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